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Showing posts tagged “press releases”

Fairtrade Delivering Change

Continued 15% growth in the market, more support and services for farmers and workers.


Shoppers continue to reach for FAIRTRADE Mark labeled products in ever growing numbers while Fairtrade’s offer to farmers and workers deepens, according to a new report out today by Fairtrade International.

The world’s leading ethical label had strong continued growth as consumer sales of Fairtrade certified products hit $7.3 billion [1] worldwide in 2013.

Out of Fairtrade’s leading products, 2013 sales grew for coffee (8%), sugar (22%), bananas (12%) and flowers (16%).[2]

Strongest growth markets include the USA, where sales of Fairtrade products grew to $426 million since the FAIRTRADE Mark’s introduction in 2012, and new South-South markets India and Kenya, who join South Africa as Fairtrade producer countries with rapidly-growing sales of Fairtrade products in their own markets.

Germany cemented its number two market position after the UK, with consumer retail sales topping $847 million following strong 23% annual growth.

More support and services for farmers and workers

At the same time Fairtrade International reports a number of far-reaching initiatives set to open more opportunities for the people at the far end of the supply chain – now more than 1.4 million farmers and workers, belonging to 1210 producer organizations in 74 countries.

“We’re matching growth in the market with new approaches to deepen impact for farmers and workers,” says Harriet Lamb, Chief Executive of Fairtrade International.

“If a day is a long time in politics, then a year is a short time in sustainability. Yet over the past year, we introduced new living wage benchmarks, piloted community-based approaches to prevent child labour, supported local trade unions to negotiate with employers… And this is only half-way through delivering on the bold new strategy we announced last year.”

Fairtrade introduced new programmes to support small farmers’ organizations to strengthen their resilience. The Fairtrade Access Fund dispensed a total of $10 million in loans to 14 producer organizations, benefiting more than 60,000 farmers. Fairtrade launched three new climate change adaptation projects in Latin America and East Africa. These programmes are run together with partners and complement Fairtrade’s core standards, certification and labeling activities.

Fairtrade also overhauled its approach with workers. A revised Fairtrade Standard for Hired Labour includes greater autonomy for workers in decision-making, more support for freedom of association, further flexibility on Fairtrade Premium use, and clearer requirements to progress towards living wage.

More rigorous impact monitoring

The organization has invested in a more rigorous impact monitoring system. Impact studies carried out over the year showed a range of positive benefits. For example in research by CODER on bananas in Colombia, all hired workers indicated their quality of life was better after their plantations joined Fairtrade, while 96% of the smallholder farmers affirmed that their economic situation had improved, on average by 34%, since joining Fairtrade. Research also highlighted challenging conditions for casual labourers on small-scale farms and the need for greater market access for many producers. Fairtrade is already taking steps in both areas.

“Fairtrade is about empowerment and long-term development, as farmers and workers transform deeply ingrained problems step-by-step to build a better future for themselves, their families and communities,” said Marike de Peña, Chair of the Fairtrade International Board and director of a banana cooperative in the Dominican Republic.

“We can and will change the rules of trade, and enable producers and workers to map out their own future.”

Additional highlights

  • Emerging markets Czech Republic, Hong Kong and South Korea all doubled annual consumer sales.

  • Fairtrade Premium payments, received by producers on top on the selling price, reached over $114 million. Small farmer organizations invested 86 percent in farmer services and strengthening cooperatives. 

  • Eleven companies signed on to the new Fairtrade Sourcing Programs, with pledges to increase purchase volumes of Fairtrade cocoa and cotton year-on-year, set to deliver $1.7million additional Fairtrade Premium funds to cocoa farmers in 2014 alone. 

  • Fairtrade Africa, the regional Fairtrade organization governed by producers, took over delivery of services to farmers and workers in Africa and the Middle East.

  • There are over 30,000 Fairtrade retail products on sale in 125 countries.

Download the 2013-14 Fairtrade International Annual Report ‘Strong Producers, Strong Future’ (PDF).

[1] based on the average exchange rate in 2013

[2] growth rate for cocoa not applicable due to new calculation method

Originally from Fairtrade International

Fairtrade International News: Working for the Common Good

Fairtrade launches a project to improve the impact of Fairtrade for workers on small farms, and better support the vulnerable farmers who employ them.

This post originated from Fairtrade International (May 14, 2014)

Fairtrade’s new Workers’ Rights Strategy has thus far focused on increasing the benefits of Fairtrade for workers on large commercial farms.

However, we also recognise that many small producer organizations and their members also employ waged workers and that the number of such workers is increasing as a result of the growth of Fairtrade and the development of small farmer organizations. While the Fairtrade Standards do provide protection for all workers through our strict minimum labour requirements in terms of child labour, forced labour, freedom of association, discrimination and pesticide handling, we have increasingly recognised that deeper benefits of Fairtrade do not automatically extend to this group. In recognition of this, in 2013 our first step in bringing improvements was to strengthen the certification criteria for workers’ rights on small producer organizations.

However we equally recognise that, in order to improve the situation of workers, Fairtrade must work harder to ensure that all farmers within Fairtrade co-operatives have a secure and sustainable income that meets their needs and those of their workers. The welfare of the one is inextricably tied to that of the other.

As Marike de Peña, Chair of Fairtrade International puts it. “We must at all costs avoid that farmers and workers start to be regarded as being in adversarial camps. Many farmers are also workers, the two live side by side in the same small communities, both struggling against poverty and injustice.”

This year we are embarking on a wider project to understand how we can improve the situation of workers within small farmer organizations. This will be a two-pronged process. We will seek to enable Fairtrade to be a stronger tool in the empowerment of workers. At the same time we will explore how we can strengthen the security of small farmers, many of whom are also highly vulnerable, and support them to become model employers. We are delighted that the Fairtrade Producer Networks are working in partnership with us to lead this work, and the project will also be supported with expert advice and input from Fairtrade’s Workers Rights Advisory Committee.

The first task to be carried out is to understand the diverse situations of workers on small farms and the equally diverse situations of those who employ them. Quantitative and qualitative research will give us an over-arching picture of who works on Fairtrade farms. We will examine where there are good employment practices on small farms and conversely where workers rights and welfare are being inadequately addressed. We will learn what has enabled Fairtrade farmers to become good employers and where the principle barriers lie to improving conditions for their workers.

The information we generate will help us co-design a strategy, with farmers and workers themselves, as to how Fairtrade can become a stronger change agent. Our findings may point to inadequacies in our current Standard and processes, with regard to enabling workers’ rights, which Fairtrade would then need to address. However experience tells us that Standards will only be one step in the process.

Our Producer Networks are already urging us to invest more in the capacity of co-operatives and farmers to become better employers. We must continue to fight for farmers to receive fairer prices for all of their production and not just the small proportion that is currently sold under Fairtrade conditions. We must work with Fairtrade co-operatives to ensure that the benefits of Fairtrade are shared among all their members.

And we must continue to listen to workers, supporting the development of programmes which meet their concerns, in particular empowering them to understand their rights and voice their concerns and to strengthen their capacity to negotiate wages and other conditions with their employers.

Fairtrade Announces Sweeping Changes for Plantation, Estate Workers: New Criteria on Freedom of Association, Living Wage

Fairtrade International has overhauled its Fairtrade Standard for Hired Labor to strengthen the position of workers in Fairtrade certified plantations and estates.

The newly revised standard includes detailed requirements to guarantee workers’ right to freely organize and collectively bargain. Certified producer companies must not only declare this right publicly to workers, but allow unions to meet with workers and offer to engage in a collective agreement process with worker representatives if there is none in place.

Fairtrade International is also introducing a new methodology to set living wage benchmarks and a clear process for plantations to progress towards a living wage. The new methodology has been developed and benchmarks have already been set in some areas. Fairtrade International is now in the process of calculating rural living wage benchmarks for each region with Fairtrade certified plantations.

Fairtrade presented the new methodology and benchmarks to industry partners and at the recent European Conference on Living Wages to build wider agreement.

“Our work is far from over. This new Standard provides the support framework, and now we have to work hard to make sure workers have the capacity and the freedom to negotiate fairer workplaces,” says Wilbert Flinterman, Senior Advisor on Workers’ Rights and Trade Union Relations at Fairtrade International.

“We will continue building partnerships with global union federations and local trade unions to engage workers; at the same time we will continue pushing for fairer prices, and a better distribution of value along the supply chain.”

Other changes include new criteria to strengthen Fairtrade benefits for workers, including temporary and migrant workers. Workers will have more control on how they spend the Fairtrade Premium, the funds for workers’ development. Elected worker representatives will report expenditure to a general assembly of workers. Workers can newly use a portion of this money for cash or in-kind bonuses.

The new Fairtrade Standard for Hired Labor will be published January 15, 2014 and come into effect for companies in June.

The release of the new Standard for Hired Labor on plantations follows the release of the 2012 Strategy for Hired Labor and is part of Fairtrade’s ongoing work to improve and extend the benefits of Fairtrade to all waged workers involved in Fairtrade supply chains.


Life Gets Sweeter: Fairtrade Certified Tate+Lyle® Sugars Now Available in the U.S.

We have some sweet news! For your baking, sprinkling and mixing pleasure, Fairtrade certified Tate+Lyle® Organic Pure Cane Sugar and Organic Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar are now available in the United States, along with Tate+ Lyle® Natural Pure Cane Sugar.


Tate & Lyle Sugars is one of Europe’s leading sugar and sweetener brands.  Tate & Lyle Sugars sources Fairtrade sugar from approximately 20,000 small scale cane farmers, and the company is one of the largest single payers of the Fairtrade premium to Fairtrade certified farmers, which amounted to $7.6 million last year.  These funds are used to support education and environmental programs in sugar farming communities along with other community building programs.


Find out where you can purchase Tate +Lyle® Fairtrade certified Sugars, find delicious recipes and learn more about Tate & Lyle Sugars’ commitment to Fairtrade at

Photo 1 caption: Paraguayan sugar cane farmer posing in front of his bull-cart. Credit: Didier Gentilhomme/Fairtrade International

Photo 2 caption: Students smile after class at the San Narciso Roman Catholic School. The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association constantly donates educational materials, paid for with the Fairtrade premium, to numerous schools in their communities. For every ton of sugar that Tate & Lyle Sugars purchases from Belize Sugar Industries, members of BSCFA receive an additional Fairtrade Premium of $60 a metric ton to invest in projects that will improve their livelihoods. Credit: James A. Rodríguez/Fairtrade International


Celebrations Mark 25 Years of Fairtrade

Today marks the historic moment 25 years ago when a handful of Dutch pioneers and Mexican coffee farmers decided to go against the tide and make a fair exchange for the fruits of their labour. This drive to “make trade fair” has become a nearly 5 billion euro-a-year global movement touching the lives of millions of growers and shoppers.

To mark Fairtrade’s jubilee,Max Havelaar Netherlands, the founding Dutch organization, has invited smallholders from across the world to ‘Max Havelaar Celebrates 25 Years of Fairtrade’, a day-long celebration in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

At the event, farmers will share how they are changing their communities through Fairtrade and Peter d’Angremond, Executive Director of the Max Havelaar Foundation, will present the first-ever, carbon-neutral coffee to help coffee farmers combat climate change. Efforts to make Fairtrade more successful and sustainable are central to the development of a movement that has snowballed from its Dutch origins.

In 1988 Frans van der Hoff, a Dutch missionary, along with a Dutch economist named Nico Roozen the development agency, Solidaridad, launched the Max Havelaar label, named after a fictional character who opposed the exploitation of coffee pickers in Indonesia.

“Twenty-five years ago the principled pragmatism of Dutch founders together with the vision of the Mexican coffee farmers put a mark on a product to ensure the consumer knew the farmers were receiving a fair price. We should pay credit to the genius of the simplicity of their idea and that they had the guts to go and do it when people said it wouldn’t work; that the public didn’t care. They have proved the optimists right,” said Molly Harriss Olsen, Chair of Fairtrade International

From those first sales of coffee from Mexico, the Fairtrade label can now be found on more than 30,000 products, including tea, bananas, sugar and chocolate. Its benefits reach more than 1.35 million farmers and workers around the world.  Over the past 25 years, the Fairtrade Mark has become the most recognized ethical mark in the world, with over €4.8 billion in annual sales and tremendous strides in some countries, for example:

  • In Switzerland, more than half of all bananas are Fairtrade
  • Over 40 percent of bagged sugar in the UK is carries the Fairtrade Mark
  • Every fifth bunch of flowers sold in Germany is Fairtrade certified.

But even for all of the success, fairly traded goods still represent less than one percent of global trade in most products. Fairtrade intends to boost its impact for poor farmers and workers with its new three-year strategic framework, ‘Unlocking the Power of the Many’.

“Changing trade is the challenge of the century, so we need big bold ambitions coupled with a willingness to move forward just one step at a time,” says Harriet Lamb, Chief Executive of Fairtrade International. “The key is getting all of the players around the table, farmers and traders, companies and workers jointly pursuing a better way of doing things – with the public playing their part.

“It’s an uncomfortable truth that for poor farmers and workers in supply chains, including Fairtrade supply chains, to earn a living wage, we must be prepared to pay more for goods such as tea and bananas. It’s one of Fairtrade’s radically conservative propositions: a little less profit at one end of the supply chain can mean a lot more dignity for people at the other. The time to rebalance the scales is long overdue so we have to pick up the pace of change.”

Marike de Pena, Manager of BANELINO, a Fairtrade cooperative in the Dominican Republic, and Vice Chair of Fairtrade International, adds:  “Fairtrade is one of the most effective approaches to achieve economic, social and environmental progress for small farmers, their families and their communities. The strength of the Fairtrade approach is that people take control of their lives through their work and can invest in a better future.”


Consumers Favor Fairtrade as Ethical Label of Choice

Fairtrade International releases 2012-13 annual report on “Unlocking the Power”

Fairtrade International’s 2012-13 annual report, released today, shows strong sales and continued consumer trust, making Fairtrade the label of choice for shoppers around the world. The report is based on the organization’s work in the past year on “Unlocking the Power” of producers and is highlighted by 16 percent growth in the total number of producer organizations compared to 2011.

Over 1.3 million farmers and workers in 70 countries are part of 1,149 Fairtrade producer organizations. In addition to sales income, these producer groups benefited from around 80 million euros in Fairtrade Premium money for sustainability and development projects in 2012.

Consumer sales increased significantly in key markets, including: Germany (33 percent), the Netherlands (26 percent), Sweden (28 percent), Switzerland (15 percent), and the UK (16 percent). Last year’s growth nearly completely offset the drop in total 2012 sales caused by Fair Trade USA’s withdrawal from the international system at the end of 2011. Excluding the USA, average sales in all other Fairtrade markets increased by over 20 percent compared to 2011.

Despite positive trends in consumer sales and an increase in Fairtrade producer organizations, many people are still beyond Fairtrade’s reach. The number of Fairtrade producers is just a fraction of the total number of producers around the world.

“In the ultimate irony, half of the world’s hungriest people are smallholder farmers, yet they grow 70 percent of the world’s food,” said Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International. “Fairtrade’s strong sales growth in 2012 is encouraging, but we are productively dissatisfied.  We must step up the reach of Fairtrade if we are to break the mold of unfairness that is so deeply embedded in trade.
"When in 2013, a tea worker can still earn less than one percent of the price of a pack of tea, something must be systemically wrong with global trade. That underscores the urgency of Fairtrade unlocking the power of campaigners, consumers and producers to drive change."

Spreading the benefits of Fairtrade is a cornerstone of Fairtrade’s three-year strategy, “Unlocking the Power of the Many.” Innovative projects aimed at enabling disadvantaged farmers and workers to run sustainable businesses and bring about change in their communities are being prepared for 2014.

Consumers showed their support for Fairtrade by spending 4.8 billion euros on Fairtrade products in 2012. Nine in ten consumers in five leading Fairtrade markets recognized the FAIRTRADE Mark. A Fairtrade-commissioned study in 17 countries confirmed Fairtrade’s position as the most widely-recognized ethical label. Across all markets, six in ten consumers have seen the FAIRTRADE Mark, and of those, nine in ten trust it.

Expanding Fairtrade to more consumers is also critical to “Unlocking the Power of the Many.” In 2013, Fairtrade products became available in Kenya and will be available in India later this year, providing consumers in those markets the chance to buy Fairtrade products from Fairtrade producers in the same country.

Highlights from 2012-13 at Fairtrade International:

  • Producer networks are now half-owners of Fairtrade International, making Fairtrade the only ethical certification scheme in the world to be jointly-owned by its producers.
  • Nespresso, Ben and Jerry’s, and Maltesers made major new commitments with Fairtrade.
  • The Fairtrade Access Fund has given US$5.65 million in loans to small producer organizations in Latin America to address their most pressing financial needs.
  • More than half of all bananas sold in Switzerland’s retail chains are from Fairtrade producers, and over 40 percent of sugar bags in the UK bear the FAIRTRADE Mark. Globally, sales of Fairtrade flowers grew by over 50 percent.
  • Over 30,000 Fairtrade products are now sold in more than 125 countries worldwide.

Download the 2012-13 Fairtrade International Annual Report here (pdf).

Read the full press release (including charts from our 2013 GlobeScan consumer survey).

Fairtrade America and Jim’s Organic Coffee Announce New Fairtrade Certified Coffee

Fairtrade America and Jim’s Organic Coffee announced today that the Massachusetts-based roaster will now offer a variety of coffees certified to international Fairtrade standards.  Jim’s Organic Coffee is offering these new Fairtrade varieties at a 15% discount online at until August 31st. 

Jim’s Organic Coffee, a leader in supplying top quality organic coffee, was established in 1996 by Jim Cannell with a dedicated mission to support the environmental and social health of coffee-producing communities. Mr. Cannell was key in launching the organic coffee movement by starting the world’s first ever all-organic coffee roaster. The company has a long track record of purchasing best-quality beans on organic and fair trade terms. Now, five of its coffee varieties will carry the international FAIRTRADE Mark, certifying that producers were paid a Fairtrade price and Fairtrade premium, which is invested by producers in a democratic fashion – often for education, healthcare, farm improvements or processing facilities to increase income. 

“Selecting coffee that improves the livelihoods of farmers in less developed areas of the world has always been a top priority of ours,” said Jim Cannell, founder and owner of Jim’s Organic Coffee. “We are proud that we can now offer coffees that carry the international FAIRTRADE Mark, a label that assures coffee lovers that they are not only enjoying a delicious, cup of organic coffee; they are also supporting fair trade ideals that benefit smallholder coffee farmers, their families and communities.” 

“Jim’s Organic Coffee understands that quality coffee is about more than beans – it’s about people and relationships, a healthy environment and ensuring that trade is fair for coffee farmers,” said Hans P. Theyer, executive director of Fairtrade America. “We are excited that Jim’s Organic Coffee will offer Fairtrade certified coffee to its many retailers and online customers, and we look forward to working together to educate consumers about how a simple action like purchasing a cup of Fairtrade coffee can help improve the livelihoods of coffee farmers and their communities in extraordinary ways.” 

Online customers can order Jim’s Organic Coffee Fairtrade certified coffee – designated by the blue and green FAIRTRADE Mark – at a 15% promotional discount through August 31st at

About Jim’s Organic Coffee:

Jim’s Organic Coffee is an all-organic coffee roaster dedicated to providing the finest coffees available. They source from caring farmers whose stewardship of their land is exemplified in the biodiversity, deep topsoil, shade canopy and clean water in and around the farms. All of this comes through in a deep, rich and clean cup you can feel good about. 

About Fairtrade America:

Fairtrade America is the exclusive representative of products certified to international Fairtrade standards in the United States.  A national, nonprofit organization, Fairtrade America is committed to helping smallholder farmers and workers around the world get a fairer price for their products, access to international markets, and funds for community development that will enable them to lead better lives, and invest in their communities. Fairtrade International comprises 25 organizations and 3 producer networks that together establish international Fairtrade standards. The FAIRTRADE Mark is the most recognized and trusted ethical label worldwide, found on products sold in over 120 countries that are sourced from over 1,000 producer organizations representing 1.24 million farmers and workers in more than 6 5 countries. The FAIRTRADE Certification Mark is backed by high level global standards and audited by a rigorous certification system from farm to shelf.

Nespresso and Fairtrade Join Forces, Launch Innovative Farmer Support Program

Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International, and Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nestlé Nespresso, today announce a new, long-reaching partnership to benefit thousands of small-scale coffee farmers. The announcement comes as Nespresso celebrates ten years of their Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program, focused on improving quality and sustainability for farmers and their communities.


Bruce McNamer, President & CEO Technoserve, Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO Nestle Nespresso S.A., Tensie Whelan, President Rainforest Alliance, Harriet Lamb, CEO Fairtrade International, and George Clooney at the Nespresso Launch event in Lausanne, Switzerland

Nespresso has committed to source a growing proportion of its coffee from Fairtrade certified cooperatives, a partnership that will provide thousands of smallholder coffee farmers with even greater income security, as well as better supporting the development of strong farmer organizations, essential building blocks of economic, social and environmental development. As part of the initiative, Nespresso will market coffee from the AAA farmer cooperatives in the region of Caldas, Colombia, and certified Fairtrade.

"This encourages the kind of development that not only helps whole communities; it further emphasizes the fundamental necessity of ensuring that quality of life of farmers is on a par with the quality of coffee they’re producing,” said Lamb. “When a company like Nespresso comes on board, we’re excited because then it means that sustainability and the coffee farmers will stay at the heart of the conversations that businesses are having."

The partnership unites Fairtrade’s deep experience in building strong, democratic farmers’ organizations with Nespresso’s AAA Program, which has proven impact in helping farmers improve quality, sustainability and productivity, as well as contributing wider social and economic benefits. As part of the program, Nespresso and Fairtrade will look to introduce social welfare provisions to benefit farmers and their families, including health and accident coverage and retirement planning.

“By 2020 we aim to make a further contribution to smallholder farmer welfare through our Nespresso AAA Program by working with Fairtrade and our other partners. Our Nespresso AAA Farmer Future Program is an important piece in our larger goal of improving livelihoods for all coffee farmers in our supply chain,” Jean-Marc Duvoisin, CEO of Nestlé Nespresso.

Fairtrade will work closely with the CLAC, the Fairtrade producer network representing Latin American producers, and the cooperatives in Colombia to begin developing the program.

Marike de Peña, the President of CLAC, Fairtrade International Vice Chair, and director of Banelino, a Fairtrade smallscale producer organization, welcomes the announcement on behalf of their members. “The CLAC recognizes the importance of Nespresso AAA for the Colombian small farmers coffee cooperatives and hopefully for other cooperatives in the near future. Investments in productivity, quality and best practices are crucial for farmers, not just to guarantee economic, social and environmental sustainability, but also to make sure that the next generation will be able to consider coffee farming an attractive and viable livelihood. The CLAC is happy to work on the ground with Nespresso to achieve these common goals and looks forward to building on this first step in Colombia to ultimately extend the benefits of the Farmer Future Program to many more farmers.”


Coffee farmers Luis Roberto Zapata of Jardin in Antioquia, along with Jorge Ivan Henao, and his father Pedro Nenao of the Fairtrade certified Aguadas Cooperative in Caldas, Colombia

Nespresso will begin by purchasing Fairtrade coffee from farmers in Caldas, Colombia, including the Aguadas Cooperative – a father/son duo from the cooperative was in attendance at the program launch. Nespresso already sources from five Fairtrade certified cooperatives in the region under the AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program. These cooperatives, comprising 7,000 small-scale farmers, were the first to join the Nespresso AAA Program in 2004.

"A key to Fairtrade’s success is its strength in supporting farmers to build strong organizations and implement development projects for their communities on their own terms according to their priorities," adds Merling Preza, President of the CLAC’s Coffee Network and Manager of PRODECOOP, one of the largest Fairtrade coffee co-ops in Nicaragua. "This involvement creates a sense of ownership among cooperative members which is vital to success. We also welcome the fact that Nespresso has already led the way in paying farmers a fair price. This commitment, now further bolstered through the safety net provided by the Fairtrade Minimum Price and through the Fairtrade Premium, is insulation so urgently needed to protect farmers from the volatility of the coffee market."

As the AAA Farmer Future Program develops and impact becomes apparent, Nespresso and Fairtrade will look to extend the partnership to other regions. The overall AAA Program comprises over 56,000 smallholder farmers representing 80 percent of Nespresso’s total coffee volume.

In addition to the new AAA Farmer Future Program, Nespresso launched two other programs and their Nespresso Sustainability Advisory Board, comprising experts and thought leaders in the area of sustainability. The board will provide insight and recommendations to enhance Nespresso’s efforts. Harriet Lamb, CEO of Fairtrade International, was selected to serve on the board along with leaders from Rainforest Alliance, Technoserve, the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation, the Fair Labor Association, and actor, activist George Clooney. Lamb participated in their first meeting at the launch of the program on 15 July in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Download the full release here (PDF).

Farmers to Have Equal Say in Fairtrade

Farmers from Africa, Asia and Latin America are to have an equal say in running the global Fairtrade movement for the first time this week.

In a ground-breaking move, producers of tea, coffee, bananas and other goods will have half the votes at Fairtrade International’s annual General Assembly in Germany on Wednesday, June 12, 2013.

Fairtrade is the first major development organization to pioneer such power-sharing between groups in the northern and southern hemisphere.

Marike de Peña, vice-chair of Fairtrade International and director of the banana co-operative Banelino in the Dominican Republic, said the “unique” arrangement would help serve the interests of Fairtrade’s more than one million small farmers and their workers. She added: “This is what real empowerment is about.

Previously growers and producers in the southern hemisphere had three out of 22 votes at Fairtrade International’s annual meeting, with the majority held by national Fairtrade organizations in the consumer countries of the wealthy north.

Under reforms begun five years ago, the constitution of Fairtrade International, the global coordinating body for the movement, was changed in January to give producers groups and consumer countries parity.

Delegates to the General Assembly in Bonn will vote on Fairtrade International’s accounts, elect a new board and make decisions on new applicants and markets.

Chief Adam Tampuri, chair of Fairtrade Africa and the Gbankuliso Cashew Farmers Association in Ghana, said:

We are convinced that what we have just achieved in Fairtrade International is a very important breakthrough: people in the south are not just beneficiaries but, for the first time, co-owners.

This is not the end of the story and we still have a long way to go, but this fundamental step is a source of great motivation for us to strengthen and improve Fairtrade in the years to come.

Molly Harriss Olson, Chair of Fairtrade International, said:

Producers have always been involved centrally in everything that we do. In fact there is no major decision that is taken without their guidance and support.

But there is a big difference between having a seat at the negotiating table (or even a few seats) and owning half of the board room.

New Coalition to Address Low Wages in the Tea Industry

Fairtrade International (FLO) has joined a coalition working to ensure living wages for workers on tea plantations. Read their write-up below to learn more about the study that identified wage issues affecting plantation workers, and what this new coalition is doing to find solutions. We’re proud to be part of an international Fairtrade system that is constantly working to support and champion farmers and workers around the world!

Fairtrade International part of new coalition to address low wages in the tea industry

Fairtrade International has long been championing and advocating for industry-wide change in the tea sector. Today we welcome the Oxfam and Ethical Tea Partnership report Understanding Wages in the Tea Industry and are committed to playing an active role in the new coalition bringing together tea industry actors to address the challenges of low wages in the tea industry.

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